TechCast's Dr. Art Murray sees business success in reach of those who try.
A Challenge to Would-Be Entrepreneurs
No more excuses: That’s what Dr. Art Murray wants to hear.
“In a massively interconnected world of 7.5 billion minds,” he writes in his monthly KMWorld column The Future of the Future,“ anyone anywhere can start and grow a global knowledge enterprise. All you need is an idea, an internet connection, and some experienced guidance and mentoring.”
This is an area where Dr. Murray, a member of our new TechCast Catalysts brainstorming panel, has some experience. CEO of Applied Knowledge Sciences and CTO of the Second School Network, he specializes in mentoring companies through difficult transitions.
He is not asking anyone to found the next Facebook, though he maintains even that is still within reach. “What’s more attainable,” Murray says, is being part of one of the 50 million small enterprises created around the globe each and every year.”
As proof, he points to successful technology incubators in some unlikely-seeming places:
The Nest i/o, is a technology incubator in Karachi, Pakistan, where some 60 experienced entrepreneurs guide startups through their early development. They must be doing something right. Two years after their founding, 80 of 100 companies that have been through the program are still in business.
The Isfahan Science & Technology Town is Iran’s answer to Silicon Valley. Built around Isfahan University of Technology, it has spawned no fewer than 10 technology incubators since 2000 and over 450 young knowledge-based companies.
In Africa—a continent not really known for high technology—there are no fewer than 117 tech incubators, including one each in Togo and Liberia, the second and twelfth poorest countries in the world. In January 2017, a consortium of 20 incubators called Africa Startup Ecosystem accepted 100 digital-tech companies for mentoring. Burundi, third among the planet’s poorest lands, is now among the top 20 nations in The World Bank’s Ease of Starting a Business rankings. The US stands in 51st place.
Although Murray concedes that eight out of 10 new companies disappear before their fifth birthday, he points out that the experience their founders gain in the process often leads to success on the next attempt—or the one after that. But, he adds, “we could accomplish so much more if we did a better job of capturing and sharing those lessons learned, especially among the world’s incubators.”
Yet, Dr. Murray makes it clear that he considers the incubators’ current performance all the would-be business founder should need. “The bottom line,” he concludes, “is there are no more excuses. If [entrepreneurs in] the poorest countries in the world can do it, so can you.”
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